Archive for the ‘Dutch’ Category


August 3, 2023

From Steven Levine, reporting from Amsterdam, on Facebook this morning:

If you have time to learn only one Dutch word, I’d say wildplassen makes an excellent candidate.

(#1) Du wildplassen ‘wild pissing’, with Du wild in the sense ‘free, loose’ (yes, it also has the sense ‘savage, fierce’, and that adds to the excellence of the signage)


SUMC moments: Dutch treat

July 2, 2023

A complex follow-up to my 6/27/23 posting “SUMC moments: the apple juice”, where I wrote:

At one point in my most recent SUMC stay we had gotten to the place where I was about to be taken off NPO (see my previous posting “SUMC moments: NPO”) and given some modest real food, but the orders to do this had not yet been issued. The head nurse (about whom more in another posting [this very posting], which will take us to India and the northeast corner of South America) took pity on me and extracted — oh great pleasure! — a tiny box of apple juice for me [from the wonderfully named apple juice company Apple & Eve].

Meanwhile I stared at Sha’s name tag, which said her name was:

Shakoentala Jagroep

I stared, baffled, by the name, with its puzzling OE spellings, until I recognized her first name in this strange spelling. Why, I asked, was Shakuntala — a name of great weight in India — spelled in this fashion? She was startled and impressed by my pronunciation, which I pronounced in Sanskrit fashion, notably with the T and L quite different from an English rendition of the name. “You said it right!”, she exclaimed. And added, cryptically, “The Dutch Empire”, but was then called away on other duties.

Later, I got to ask her what part of the Dutch Empire, guessing Indonesia, surely the biggest piece. But no: little Suriname, in the northeast corner of South America.

I will track through this history below, but first a digressive note about one of the evils of the Dutch in Indonesia.


The news for gay penguins

October 24, 2020

From reader BJP on 10/22, from The Cut website “There’s Drama in the Queer Penguin Community” by Amanda Arnold on 10/22/20:

Drama is afoot in the Dutch queer penguin community after two gay lovers with a reputation for trouble stole an entire nest of eggs from a neighboring lesbian couple at the same zoo.

Within the queer penguin community at large, fostering eggs is relatively common: On multiple occasions, zoos and aquariums have gifted unhatched eggs to gay and lesbian couples exhibiting behavior that suggests they’re desperate for a chick, like building mock nests out of pebbles. But rather than demanding the same of their caretakers, one pair of African penguins at the DierenPark zoo in Amersfoort instead took the matter into their own claws by snatching eggs from two mothers-to-be, according to The conniving boys have since been sharing caregiving duties, taking turns keeping the eggs warm and foraging for fish.

I know, I know, guys just take whatever they want.


On the black cat patrol

July 15, 2018

Just mounted on the wall I face when I’m at my work table: a digital reproduction of the famous Zwicky Cat poster by Donald Brun (for the Zwicky silk thread company in Wallisellen, Canton Zürich), and a postcard Amanda Walker sent me because it reminded her of the cat Kurniau (what cats say in Estonian — it’s a purr and a meow) from the Zwicky household in Columbus OH many years ago:


I’ve posted the Zwicky Cat image before, and about Brun. To come here: about the source of the framed poster (the Wee Blue Coo company in Edinburgh); about the fuller version of the poster, in which a cat may look at a cat icon (as Kurniau seems to be doing above); and about another entertaining Brun poster that I came across while searching for a copy of the two-cat version of the Zwicky silk thread poster.